The first things that come to mind as a layman or a business owner, factors on which a taxi business thrives are – Cheaper price, better service and recall value by customers. That’s how super brands like Uber and Ola have held their forte for a long time.
We all know that companies like Uber and Ola are mere taxi aggregators. They take the services of taxi owners to run their cabs under their brand and take a percentage of the business from the can owners. These taxi owners can either be independent drivers or small-time cab owners, who have a few cabs to rent. The motto of Taxi Aggregators, on the other hand, is to build their brand value, get more market share, and provide seamless service to its end users.
So, what are the factors which affect a Taxi business?
Uber released internal data that says drivers who use the app to give rides-for-hire in their personal cars are making more money as chauffeurs than professional taxi drivers do — as much as $17 an hour in the District and Los Angeles, $23 in San Francisco and $30 in New York.
There are few things on which success of a taxi business depends:
A Taxi aggregator has to keep his drivers/cab owners happy. For that, it has to give them good incentives. What they gain in the process is a good market share.
Fron security point of view, business should be done only with reliable partners, who have a clean record. Very often, the small-time taxi operator is not concerned about his brand and may cheat the customer for some extra bucks. That’s where the role of the aggregator comes into play. So, there should always be a thorough background check of drivers, who come to partner with you. This is not only going to protect customer interests but also help to establish you as a reliable brand.
a) On-demand App and web-based solution – It is the era of smartphones. If we want to search something, call or text somebody or order something online, our smartphone serves as our best buddy. So, it’s the number one priority of any Taxi aggregator to build a top-class on-demand mobile app for its Taxi business. The app should be fast, reliable and should be downloadable on both Android and iOS platforms.
Customers should always be able to connect with the company at any point in time through it. The on-demand app is generally a combination of four modules – The driver app, rider app, dispatcher and admin panel. The aggregator should be in charge of critical functions to control the operations on the ground; should have access to the dispatcher and admin panel of the app.
The aggregator should also provide the facility for web-based booking to customers, who either don’t have a smartphone or may not have downloaded the taxi app on their smartphones.
Provision should be made both for web-based and mobile based bookings to provide seamless service to the customers.
b) GPS Tracker – The biggest technology behind a Taxi app solution is the GPS tracking system which keeps track of the cabs in real-time. A taxi app is incomplete without a GPS tracking system.
The GPS helps in monitoring the drivers, how far they are from the pickup location and give a fair idea to the customer about their estimated time of arrival. It’s coordination with google maps, helps in suggesting the driver the best possible route the driver can take to reach a destination. The GPS can also provide info whether a driver is lying idle or up to some mischief. Thus, the GPS serves many purposes.
Image source: www.yelowsoft.com
c) Payment gateway – Last but not the least, the aggregator company should employ a reliable payment gateway to accept payments from customers through debit or credit cards. This will not only lead to cashless transactions but also provide better options to carry forward one’s balance cash or points for the next ride.
The marketing strategies any business adopts is what will keep the business up and run and also help to attract customers. Just like any business, a taxi business also needs good marketing tricks to attract loyal customers.
A taxi business is always limited to a particular location. So, the entire customer base is from one location, and the fight for retaining one’s market share is in the local market. Campaigns, offerings, service promos, etc. should happen to center the local market. For that a deep understanding of what the local crowd likes, should be there.
Of course, the company can offer free promotional rides just like a company as Ola does; which provides first three rides free to new customers or provide referral bonus points to customers who refer their friends and family.
The company may tie up with local restaurants and hotels. Whenever the hotels and restaurants have customers, they can suggest them to avail the services of the aggregator company. The taxi company, in turn, may give discounts to customers who ride with them, to the hotels and restaurants they have to tie up with. This way both parties are benefitted.
4) Customer Care
Last but not the least, every business today has a backend in the form of customer care, to help customers with their queries and problems. The backend team gets feedback from customers, as to how they perceive their services and which are the areas in which they need to improve. A strong team of customer execs, available 24/7, always plays a big role in the company’s success. The execs are also the ones who will be in touch with the drivers and learn about their issues.
The taxi business is having a huge potential for earning if done in the right way. So, it should be the constant endeavor of the aggregator companies to think of innovative ways to provide better service to the customer keeping the price factor in mind.